Guruji on Being Attentive to Life

Living spiritually means living attentive from moment to moment. Be mindful of every action, right from the time of waking up until when you go off to sleep. Many a time you may find yourself rushing through life without being conscious of the present. There may be times when you drive to work through extremely busy traffic and reach your office. Only when you park your car, do you become aware that you have made the whole journey from home to office, navigated through difficult traffic, without even being aware of your actions. Also, if you observe yourself you will often find that unconsciously you are either living in the past or in the future, and your present is almost forgotten.

At times, you unconsciously relive the painful memories of the past, and suffer the pain with equal or more magnitude. Sometimes you find yourself dwelling on past happy moments and feeling extremely joyful. In the bargain, the present moments of your life are lost. So, it is necessary to cultivate the habit of living in the present. The past is gone and the future is yet to come; life happens only in the present. It is very important to practice the art of being in the present, and also to only be a witness to life’s happenings. Train yourself to live with awareness and alertness, and with a witness attitude. Be more of an observer during all happenings of your life; do not get emotionally entangled in them. Conduct every action of yours, with dedication and integrity, with sincerity and compassion towards all. Living with awareness from moment to moment certainly induces your spiritual awakening.

Tips on being Attentive and Mindful

Carry out a small exercise in awareness. Take a brief walk from your home to the shop. When you return home, try and remember all the people who passed by during your walk. Jot down from memory. Practice for a week, and you will observe the progressive difference in awareness. As you improve, you will find yourself being naturally attentive, and in the present. Try any other exercise which will help you to focus your awareness on the present. Make a commitment to yourself to live attentive from moment to moment, for the rest of your life. As you live with awareness, your mind becomes disciplined. This human life is a precious gift from God, and it is our duty to discipline it to achieve its peak level.

Disciplining happens automatically when you spiritualize every action of yours. Our Dharma is based on this very foundation where we offer our gratitude to the Divine on a regular basis, all throughout the day, for every activity we undertake. One very unique feature of our culture is the understanding that all of creation, people, animals, nature, everything is interconnected and interdependent. This significant understanding and belief require us to be thankful and grateful to everybody and everything, and no one person or entity is more or less important.

Shlokas for being Attentive and Mindful

This profound belief has been practiced by our people in simple ways through the recital of various significant shlokas passed on to us by our forefathers from generation to generation. It is indeed sad that the onslaught of western influence has in the past diminished many of our customary practices. However, once again we see the revival of our cultural practices, not only in India but all the world over. To enumerate a few of our daily invocations of gratitude through shlokas:-

When we wake up in the morning, we rub our palms together, invoking the deities residing within our palms, and seek their blessings for all the activities that we may undertake during the day, by reciting this shloka :

Karaagre Vasathe Lakshmi

Karamadhye Saraswati

Karamule Tu Govinda

Prabhaate Kar Darshanam

While taking our bath, with immense gratitude, we invoke the waters of our sacred rivers to cleanse and bless us, through this shloka:

Gange Cha Yamune Chaiva

Godavari Saraswati

Narmade Sindhu Kaveri

Jaleasmin Sannidhim Kuru

While taking meals, we express gratitude to the omnipresent God who exists in the food, inside the devotee and also in the hunger, through this shloka:

Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havih

Brahmaagnau Brahmana Hutam

Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam

Brahma Karma Samaadhina

Before starting any activity including meals, we recite the Shanti Mantra:

Om Sahana Vavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu

Sahaveeryam Karavavahai Tejas Vinavadhi Tamastu

Ma Vidhwishavaha Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi

[Om, May we all be protected, may we all be nourished
May we work together with great energy, may our intellect be sharpened,
Let there be no animosity amongst us, Om, peace, peace, peace.]

At the end of the day, before sleeping, we are taught to recite this shloka:

Kaayena Vaacha Manasendriyairvaa

Buddhyaatmanaa Vaa Prakrteh Svabhaavaat

Karomi Yadyat-sakalam Parasmai

Naaraayannayeti samarpayaami

[With Body, Speech, Mind or Sense Organs, using Intellect, feelings of Heart or through tendencies of my Mind, whatever I do, I do all for others, and surrender them all at the Lotus Feet of Sri Narayana.]

Incorporate these age-old customs and traditions into your daily life, whereby all actions performed during the day, are offered wholeheartedly at the feet of the Divine. This is way to conduct our lives, in complete awareness, performing every action as an offering to God.

My blessings to you all.

– Guruji

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